The Villa Casa Casuarina
What We Love
- Location directly across from the beach
- The villa’s incredible on-site restaurant, which serves Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients
- Rich history: The property is the former Versace mansion
- READ MORE: Find your perfect Miami vacation
What To Know
- Reservations are required for afternoon tea (served from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays in the Mosaic Garden)
- Looking to take a break from the beach scene? Try the property’s Thousand Mosaic Pool, where Versace’s 24K gold tiles still gleam
- Top Miami Beach restaurants and nightclubs are just a five-minute cab ride away
- Free WiFi
- Parking On Site
The Villa Miami Beach delivers a delicate mix of flamboyance and sophistication worthy of the mansion that once belonged to Gianni Versace. Past the iron gates (and the many celebrity seekers) that surround the 1930s villa — which is directly across from the beach — the property opens up like a scene from One Thousand and One Nights.
Bed and Bath
The layout is reminiscent of a Moroccan riad: 10 suites set around an interior courtyard with a fountain, with carved wood doors and intricate tiling. The Villa Suite is Versace’s former boudoir and, unsurprisingly, the most lavish — two balconies, gold shower fixtures and a truly enormous bed (nine by 12 feet) — but the other nine suites are close contenders. Each has Frette linens, Versace fabrics, a Sono sound system and a sleek bathroom clad in Italian marble.
You’d be remiss not to reserve a table at the villa’s 30-seat restaurant, where river pebble mosaics adorn the walls, candles in colored vases cast a glow over the tabletops, and Versace china announces that eating here is as much an aesthetic experience as a gustatory one. The menu from chef Jeff O’Neill (of Miami’s exclusive Gibraltar) features Old World dishes infused with innovative ingredients, such as the clementine carrot velouté with mascarpone and the maple-glazed barramundi in white ginger broth.
In the Area
This is the famed Art Deco District; don’t leave without taking a walking or bicycle tour, self-guided or otherwise, in order to see all the incredibly restored historic properties. While Ocean Drive itself can be touristy, and mediocre foodwise — with the exception of Prime 112, De Rodriguez Cuba and BLT Steak — it also offers some wicked fun, especially at the neighboring Palace South Beach, which is renowned for its colorful drag queen shows. Parallel avenues Collins and Washington feature world class dining and nightclub options, ranging from the Bazaar by José Andrés in the SLS Hotel to Mansion Nightclub. Perpendicular to the beach, the Lincoln Road walking mall is great for people watching and café hopping.
How to Get There
We came to check out the former home of Gianni Versace and have a drink at the bar. Although drinks are incredibly overpriced ($95 w fees and tip for two) it was worth it just to be able to see the pool area. The mosaic Medusa head is stunning.
Manager was incredibly friendly to our group of three and let us roam around as we pleased. Be prepared though that you might get denied access for dress code, although it’s not really defined as to what it is. When we arrived a group of people that showed up at the same time as us were not permitted in.
One other thing to note, a lot of people felt compellled to wear Versace inspired outfits for photo ops inside which seemed incredibly tacky. If you’re coming here as a fan, the least you can do is not wear faux designer knock offs.
We stayed Saturday night and was a little disappointed. There was a wedding so we could not use the pool, however we were provided access to the pool at the hotel next door. We also didn’t realize how loud it would be in our room - I could hear guest conversations and everything that was happening in the room above me. It was disappointing considering the expectations one would have.
We had the absolute pleasure of unexpectedly staying at what was the home of Gianni Versace - thanks to Hurricane Michael. We were originally staying in Key West, though decided to return to Miami for a couple of nights before flying out to Nashville.
Both our suites were amazing - huge! The beds are the largest we have ever seen.
Staff at the hotel are attentive and friendly and it was great that residential guests had the freedom to roam around the mansion without having to adhere to the strict dress code for diners. Security were excellent also, turning away sight see'ers who just wanted to enter the mansion to take photo's.
Service was hit and miss, with out suites both not being serviced on the second day of our stay - though this didn't detract from the amazing overall stay.
We'd highly recommend staying at this special hotel.
We had driven from Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach just to go to the Onyx Bar and see Casa Casuarina, which opens to the public at 6pm. We knew that sandals were forbidden, but we didn't know that sneakers were on the no-no list as well. My husband wears sneakers all the time because they help absorb shock and so mitigate his back pain. We were nicely dressed; my husband had on slacks and a long-sleeved white shirt. Nevertheless, we were turned away. No exceptions. That long drive for nothing. Oh well, live and learn. "A word to the wise is sufficient."
We visited for lunch and wasn't disappointed by the food. We had the tomato salad and grilled Spanish octopus for appetizers, the octopus was a stand out which we hoth absolutely loved. For main I had the seafood pasta which was lovely with a really buttery sauce, the pasta was made in house with some squid ink included. The staff were all absolutely lovely especially our waitress Valentina and the barman who may of been called Michael I'm not sure.
My only bone of contention is the have a strict no pictures rule which I can understand as they have guests that are staying here at the same time but when people are paying to eat in such a beautiful place it should really be expected they'd want a picture or two. It's a minor moan though as the staff and food we're both top notch.